Some say it is the greatest achievement of modern society. Others say it is the greatest challenge. I am referring to increased life expectancy over the last 70 years. In resent years the focus has been on the cost of this success. The increasing burden on the NHS of an ageing population and the financial implications for pensions. But statistics from ONS appear to indicate a,” significant slowdown in the improvement (in life expectancy) occurred during 2010.” The report does not offer a reason why life expectancy has stoped increasing, we can speculate whether this is due to social or biological factors but the implications are significant. The argument about future funding of the NHS changes if the population stops getting older. The talk of needing to extend the age of retirement to 70 becomes unnecessary. The idea that individuals will on average live to a hundred and therefore need to fund 35 years of retirement is no longer the case.
At last we may be able to focus on improving the quality of life in old age rather than funding increased life expectancy.
Blair McPherson former Local Authority director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk